California brings the T-Mobile merger date with Sprint much closer

California brings the T-Mobile merger date with Sprint much closer
After the grand scare that was the state Attorney Generals lawsuit against T-Mobile's merger with Sprint, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero gave the go-ahead for the New T-Mobile to happen, and yet a few big hurdles remained.

Since California and New York mounted the legal challenge against the merger, they still needed to iron things out with T-Mobile on a state-by-state basis. Shortly after the judge ruled in favor of the merger, with all the adjustments and caveats that the two carriers had to make, the New York AG Letitia James decided against appealing the decision, leaving California the last holdout state.

However, it's not only the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra that needed to have the last word, but also the powerful California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had to sign off. 

California wanted the following plan price and other adjustments after the T-Mobile and Sprint merger:

  • Make low-cost plans available in California for at least five years, including a plan offering 2 GB of high-speed data at $15 per month and 5 GB of high speed data at $25 per month
  • Extend for at least an additional two years the rate plans offered by T-Mobile pursuant to its earlier FCC commitment, ensuring Californians can retain T-Mobile plans held in February 2019 for a total of five years
  • Offer 100 GB of no-cost broadband internet service per year for five years and a free mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device to 10 million qualifying low-income households not currently connected to broadband nationwide, as well as the option to purchase select Wi-Fi enabled tablets at the company’s cost for each qualifying household
  • Protect California jobs by offering all California T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in good standing an offer of substantially similar employment. T-Mobile also commits that three years after the closing date, the total number of new T-Mobile employees will be equal to or greater than the total number of employees of the unmerged Sprint and T-Mobile companies
  • Create approximately 1,000 new jobs in California with a customer service center in Kingsburg
  • Increase diversity by increasing the participation rate in its employee Diversity and Inclusion program to 60 percent participation within three years
  • Reimburse California and other coalition states up to $15 million for the costs of the investigation and litigation challenging the merger

As you can see, there is not much else that wasn't requested and executed by the carrier on the runup to the merger preparations and the lawsuit against it, so it shouldn't have been hard for T-Mobile to reach an agreement in California as well.

California AG and CPAC approve the T-Mobile merger with Sprint

Thus, we are happy to inform you that, after New York, the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that his office has reached a settlement with T-Mobile on the points above.

Not only that, but a day after, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is expected to vote next month, sent out a proposal (PDF) that the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile be approved on the aforementioned conditions, too.

Thus, while the merger won't be finalized for April's Fools Day, as many expected after the judge ruled in favor of it, we may very well witness the blossoming of the New T-Mobile in the spring still. 

Now, the pressing questions are if "you can like your Sprint plan, you can keep your Sprint plan," and whether all of those grandfathered subscribers will be able to take advantage of the network synergies that may result in the largest, most robust spectrum overlap for a 5G buildout in the country. 

After all, Sprint has had a running promo that charges a Benjamin for family-sized unlimited data, and if the New T-Mobile blankets the terrain in low-, mid- and mmWave 5G bands, those whose unlimited line costs $25 a month will feel all the smarter that they went with Sprint in the first place.

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